Mill sales show confidence in our industry

Mill sales show confidence in our industry

The news that Bundaberg Sugar is up for sale came as a surprise to many within and outside the industry when it was revealed this month.

Not only is Bundaberg Sugar one of Australia’s best-known brand names, the company is also Queensland’s largest cane grower, in addition to being a miller and refiner of sugar.

After more than two decades at the helm, Belgian-based sugar company Finasucre has decided the time is right to put its major Australia asset on the market.

Finasucre’s decision should be seen as a sign of the strength and vitality of Queensland’s sugarcane industry and the international sugar market more generally.

And, if media reports are correct, it may also be a sign that outside investors are starting to sit up and take serious interest in the emerging opportunities within our industry.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Finasucre received “inbound interest in the assets, understood to have come from those eyeing it as a source of green energy.”

Of course, these are only third hand reports at present and, with such a large market share of Australia’s domestic sugar sales, it’s hard to see Bundaberg Sugar moving away from sugar production any time soon, but options exist for complimentary processing investments.

But the fact that investors are considering the purchase of an asset worth more than half a billion dollars to produce green energy, shows just how rapidly the industry is progressing towards becoming a powerhouse of the emerging bioeconomy.

News of the sale comes just weeks after the Queensland Government announced it would earmark more than 1000 hectares in Mackay for the development of a biomanufacturing zone adjacent Mackay Sugar’s Racecourse Mill.

The industry, led by CANEGROWERS, Sugar Research Australia, and the Australian Sugar Milling Council, launched the Sugar Plus roadmap in 2021 outlining the industry’s goal of diversifying into sustainable, value-adding products such as biofuels and green energy.

Since then, CANEGROWERS has been working with government and other industry stakeholders to make the road map a reality.

The interest in Bundaberg Sugar and the state government’s biomanufacturing announcement, among other developments, are signs that we are making progress.

With next year’s State Election coming into focus, CANEGROWERS will be seeking commitments from both sides of politics that they will partner with industry in a truly meaningful way, ensuring we have the resources and leadership necessary to build on these opportunities. In this way we can see the industry grow and thrive for the benefit of everyone in the existing sugarcane supply chain and the wider Queensland community.